This time, though, the rising urban class of shopkeepers and artisans, known as the bourgeoisie, continued the struggle, focusing it against the noble landowning class that had traditionally been the support of the monarchy. With the bourgeoisie success, the noble class was pulled down, the king along with it as its figurehead, and replaced by the First Republic. In many ways, the search for the reasons and participants can be found in the theories brought forward by Karl Marx, such as in the popular protest movements of the day which provide a more accurate view of both how the monarchy lost its favor and who was most in control of the political and social changes that were happening in those years.
French society at the time of the Revolution was very similar to most of the other countries of Europe of the period in that it had an absolute monarchy that followed much the same pattern of rule that had been established by Louis XIV in the early 1700s. As a part of this system, there was an aristocratic class that held most of the status and wealth of the nation in a feudal-type system and a merchant class called the bourgeoisie that, at times, held enough wealth to rival the nobles, but had none of the political clout. There was “a vast peasantry accounting for one in seven or one in eight of the population, most of who were legally free but bound to their seigneur … by a myriad of services and obligations surviving from the medieval past. … And, in cities, … a great urban population of innumerable crafts and occupations, for the most part poor and depending for survival on cheap and plentiful bread” (Rude 1995). What made France different from these other countries that shared so many attributes was the fact that the French bureaucracy had been allowed to gain enough wealth to make them independent of the crown that had given them such